New exhibit pairs collections of Arkansas artists

A new exhibit opening Aug. 16 at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock showcases more than 30 works that offer a snapshot of the 1980s and reflect on an active and expanding art community in Arkansas. 

Pairing Collections: Contemporary Art in 1980s Arkansas” will be on display through Sept. 29 in UA Little Rock’s Brad Cushman Gallery, located on the second level of the Windgate Center of Art + Design, 2801 S. University Ave.

The exhibit includes 22 works from the corporate art collection at Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C. and 11 works from the UA Little Rock Permanent Collection.

Many Arkansas artists are represented in both collections, and their works are placed side by side in the exhibition – thus the title “Pairing Collections.” Artists represented include former UA Little Rock Art professors Al Allen, Kathleen Holder, and William “Rocky” Sapp; UA Little Rock art students Alice Andrews, Dominique Simmons, Kitty Mashburn, Gertrude Tara-Casciano, and Anne Fordyce; Evan Lindquist, former Arkansas State University art professor and Arkansas’s first artist laureate; Tarrance Corbin, former University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff art professor; and artists David Bailin, Patrick McFarlin, Warren Criswell, Sally Williams, Cheryl Wall, Lou Boswell, Reita Miller, Margaret Speer, and Warren Sims. 

“As we celebrate our firm’s 65th anniversary, we are delighted to collaborate with UA Little Rock to showcase the work of the vibrant Arkansas artists in both collections,” said Mitchell Williams Managing Partner Rick Beard. “We are happy to share our art collection with visitors to the Windgate Center of Art + Design.” 

The firm’s art collection started in 1967 when the firm’s managing partner, Maurice Mitchell, and attorney Chris Barrier began collecting art by Arkansas artists, including work created by faculty and students at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The university established an art collection in 1972 that would supplement the teaching mission of the Department of Art. 

“Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard has been a tremendous community partner of UA Little Rock for many years and has supported many initiatives that directly benefit our students,” said Brad Cushman, UA Little Rock’s gallery curator. “We are thrilled to be able to host this joint exhibition that showcases the incredible talent of so many Arkansas artists.”

Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard has been a long-time university community partner, having sponsored UA Little Rock Trojan athletic events as well as Taste of Little Rock, the university’s signature alumni fundraising event.

Maurice Mitchell, one of our firm’s founders and long-time managing partner, served on the UA Little Rock Foundation Fund Board from 1988-1993. Attorney Sherry Bartley currently serves on the board.

The law firm also supports the William H. Bowen School of Law, where a courtroom is named in honor of Maurice Mitchell. The firm awards the H. Maurice Mitchell Leaders in Law Scholarship annually to the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law Moot Court board chair and sponsors student association events at the law school.

The photos above right depict artwork by Sally A. Williams (1945 – 2010). On the left is “Then the Sun Rise,” a mixed media piece that is part of the Mitchell Williams Corporate Collection. On the right is “Distance and Layering Series: Show Card” a graphite on paper work in the UA Little Rock Permanent Collection.

The painting above left is “Blue Rock” by Alice Andrews, oil on canvas, in the UA Little Rock Permanent Collection.


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